Being somewhat of a reserved person, I knew that one of the biggest benefits of studying publishing this year would be helping me come out of my shell. In a lot of ways, I felt I never needed to, but when I found how important connecting to other people is in this industry, it simultaneously stunned and intrigued me. I knew that putting myself out there, especially with that dreaded word: ‘networking’, would be a challenge for me and others to overcome. But it also struck me that the way people form relationships in the industry is an important thing to be a part of, not only to make professional contacts, but to gain perspective and knowledge about the different aspects of publishing. I know little of other industries and the workplace in general, being a fresh graduate, but ‘networking’ was something I was entirely unprepared for and due to this, it’s almost natural to doubt its effects. Instead, I’ve found that it’s tremendously simple to put yourself out there, so much so, I found it difficult to begin.
I was initially perplexed at the necessity of a Twitter account as part of the course. The last time I used social media regularly was when I was a sixteen-year-old posting on Facebook and since, only use it rarely to keep in touch with others. I remember the initial ‘Twitter boom’ when a bunch of my friends started posting but by then, I lost interest. I never fully pondered the benefits of Twitter until I learned more about advertising in class – not only with company products – but with myself. I’ve found that not only is self-promotion essential for establishing contacts, but growing more social and keeping updated with news can only benefit my social development and understanding of the industry.
And although I joined Twitter purely for professional reasons, I made sure to explore it with an open mind as well. I couldn’t help but follow several celebrities and company favourites to personalise my news feed a little more. It strikes me as odd to read about the latest trends of publishing alongside what the cast of my favourite TV show get up to, but I now see why many find Twitter so compelling. Even with my initial scepticism, I can safely say I’m now ‘Twitterpated.’
I still find it difficult to post, possibly due to the hurdle many have faced: wondering if what I have to say is worth putting out there amongst the vast number of voices online. But I have definitely observed the benefits of even visiting the site regularly and staying updated with others, especially for publishing. That people seem interested in what I have to say indicates something special about the industry – people are interested in people rather than what’s solely on paper. Since networking and the exchange of ideas is such an important part of publishing, Twitter is an essential platform for this. Although I still find it challenging to put myself out there, joining social media is a huge help. Not only can I observe how people and companies work and interact on the site, it’s a platform that I can steadily introduce myself on. It makes me want to involve myself further and I’m interested to see how I develop more as a person by the end of the academic year.